I have a problem with all of these articles that come out and say, “Breastfeeding doesn’t make your breasts sag, pregnancy does!” The implied here is “So it’s okay to breastfeed now” or “If breastfeeding made our boobs sag, maybe we wouldn’t want to do it, but since you have to be pregnant anyway….” There was even a “study” that got a lot of press where a plastic surgeon interviewed a number of clients and then it was decided breastfeeding was not one of the main factors in breast sagging. That leaves those of us who have dramatically changed boobs scratching our heads, feeling alone, feeling broken and crazy.
The heart is in the right place. These articles are meant to encourage breastfeeding! I’m what some (sometimes spitefully) call a Lactivist. I should be down with that, right?
But what’s wrong with admitting that having a baby changes your body? I breastfed for 3.25 years and let me tell you, I don’t think it was pregnancy that changed my boobs. It was breastfeeding. And it wasn’t just because I did it a very long time, my friend with very similar boobs breastfed just a year and her boobs are very changed. Ain’t nobody going to tell me that with my already large gazongas, the heaviness of milk my ducts did not stretch out my boobs. The literal stretch marks on top of my boobs means the milk came in fast and my skin did not have time to adjust. The skin stretched out and my boobs got lower. They filled with milk and emptied over and over, like a re-usable water balloon. That’s what happened. I’m not stupid. I saw it and felt it and I lived to tell. And I’m fine. I don’t love them the same way I used to, but I love them.
Because you know what? These articles are lying to women by using a technicality and assuming you don’t know about biology like those of us who actually went to school to learn about breastfeeding. Yes, your melons will swell in pregnancy as the mammary glans get all bulked up. But do you know when they really stretch out and get bigger? Days 2-4 when engorgement happens and the milk comes in more full force- and they will likely never be that big again. Depending on how much collagen and elastin you have in your skin naturally, they may not bounce back from the days of engorgement.
And my sisters with smaller ones? They say, “I’m done with breastfeeding and my breasts now look like squishy pancakes and extra skin.” Hormonally, everything has quieted down and all of that mammary tissue is at rest, but the skin has already stretched and it didn’t all happen in pregnancy.
It’s the same argument with losing the pregnancy baby weight.. “just breastfeed and it will fly right off.”
Well, that’s true for some people. And then there are some of us who become so ravenously hungry while feeding and caring for this little person that zero weight comes off- or it does very slowly.
And the same argument goes for stretch marks… “Oh, they fade”… Yes, they fade from dark red purple to grey-ish white but you still have tiger stripes or, like me, deep ravines.
And for excess belly skin once you’ve lost the weight…. “Oh if you just tone up….” But you know that skin is going nowhere.
Your tits will sag no matter what, it is just a matter of time because of aging and gravity- if you are lucky enough to dodge cancer and keep them that long. Yes there are a lot of factors determining how much they will change, but I’m telling you that breastfeeding is one of them. We breastfeed our babies because it is the biologically normal, it is healthiest for mom and baby. If the reason you choose not to breastfeed despite those good reasons is because you relish your perfect breasts, okay. But they are going to sag soon enough and you’ll want surgery anyway so consider breastfeeding your baby and then have the surgery or get comfy with having a human body. But I was the honest one who told it like it is. Now you can own informed consent to develop saggy breasts.
Just like I’m not the kind of boobie-pusher that sugar-coats breastfeeding and leaves out that some women have nipple pain and difficulty- setting you up for breastfeeding failure because you’re ill-prepared, ashamed and don’t know what to do about it. It’s always better to have the information first, in my book.
So my child gets to have come out of this whole birth and feeding thing healthy, immune boosted and gorgeous and I am supposed to walk around thinking it has ruined me? No thank you.
I wear a bikini. And I don’t care who sees all of it because generally my child is right there playing in the water – the glorious, beautiful reason why my body is simply changed, simply different than it was before. Just like most of the rest of me since becoming a parent.
More on my boobs, a poem: http://www.savvyparentingsupport.com/dear-boobs-a-poem/
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